• Whether it is an oil company that relies on abusive private security forces, a tech company that censors or spies on users at the behest of a repressive government, or a corrupt government that siphons off the wealth of its nation, businesses and other economic activities can have negative impacts on people’s rights. Human Rights Watch investigates these and other situations to expose the problems, hold institutions accountable, and develop standards to prevent these activities. This work has included research and advocacy on human rights problems caused by corruption in resource-rich countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Nigeria, and Burma.
  • Gubad Ibadoglu, activist for revenue transparency in Azerbaijan and member of the governing board of EITI, has been targeted in a government crackdown on independent groups.
    The Azerbaijan government’s offensive against human rights defenders and nongovernmental organizations should lead to its suspension from an international transparency initiative.
  • Without Rules: A Failed Approach to Corporate Accountability

    By Christopher Albin-Lackey, senior researcher

    Some of the most powerful and sophisticated actors on the world stage are companies, not governments. In 2011 alone, oil and gas behemoth ExxonMobil generated revenues of US$467 billion—the size of Norway’s entire economy. Walmart, the world’s third-largest employer with more than 2 million workers, has a workforce that trails only the militaries of the United States and China in size.

    Many global businesses are run with consideration for the well-being of the people whose lives they touch. But others—whether through incompetence or by design—seriously harm the communities around them, their workers, and even the governments under which they work.

    Read the full essay >>

Reports

Extractive Industries

  • Nov 21, 2014
    The bold activists around the world who stand up to corporate and government economic interests frequently face a harsh backlash. Individuals and communities are threatened, and activists may be arrested or killed with impunity in retaliation for speaking out against abuses of worker rights, hazardous environmental conditions, and displacement from large-scale infrastructure projects, to name some all-too-common examples.
  • Nov 13, 2014
    For more than 15 years, Human Rights Watch has documented the impact grand corruption has on human rights. It is our belief that it is one of the key drivers for human rights problems in many parts of the world.
  • Oct 15, 2014
    The US Justice Department’s $30 million settlement deal with the eldest son of Equatorial Guinea’s president, announced on October 10, marks the end of a decade-long US effort to pursue Teodoro (“Teodorín”) Nguema Obiang Mangue for corruption and money-laundering. Under the settlement, Teodorín will have to forfeit to the US some of the funds the Justice Department says he “shamelessly looted.” He agreed to pay without admitting any wrongdoing.
  • Oct 15, 2014
    A warning from a prominent international transparency group on October 15, 2014, gives Azerbaijan’s government a clear incentive to promptly open up space for activists to operate.
  • Oct 14, 2014
  • Oct 13, 2014
    Draft amendments to limit funding of independent groups under Azerbaijan’s already harsh laws would make it nearly impossible for them to operate.
  • Oct 10, 2014
    When I visited the small-scale — or “galamsey” — gold mines in the Ashanti Region earlier this year, I met “Kwame,” a quiet but self-assured 12-year-old. He dropped out of primary school about a year ago to help his mother feed his five younger siblings.
  • Oct 8, 2014
    Indigenous peoples’ rights, particularly land and resource rights including their right to free, prior, and informed consent, must be a pillar of any principles related to the responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. These rights are integral elements of the right to take part in cultural life, which is interdependent of the right of all peoples to self-determination and the right to an adequate standard of living. I ask that all members of the committee support the inclusion of the bracketed text. Failure to ensure this provision is secured within a final text undermines respect for these rights, thereby putting at risk the sources of livelihood and culture for many indigenous communities.
  • Sep 24, 2014
    BP should tackle a harsh government crackdown on independent groups and activists in Azerbaijan, Human Rights Watch said in a letter released today. The crackdown has seriously compromised an international natural resource transparency initiative in which the company plays a leading role. On September 20, 2014, BP and the government of Azerbaijan, a member of the same group, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), held a high-profile ceremony to mark the official start of a major new project to supply gas from Azerbaijan to Europe.
  • Sep 11, 2014